Implementing global knowledge in local practice: a WHO lung health initiative in Nepal
Health Policy and Planning
Clinical practice guidelines are used widely to improve the quality of primary health care in different health systems, including those of low-income countries. Often developed at international level and adapted to national contexts to increase the feasibility of effective uptake, guideline initiatives aim to transfer global scientific knowledge into local practice. The WHO's Practical Approach to Lung Health (PAL) is an example of such an initiative and is currently being developed to improve
... he quality of care for youths and adults with respiratory diseases. We assessed ex-ante the feasibility of successful implementation of PAL in a pilot programme in rural Nepal, studying three components: the quality of the innovation (i.e. the guidelines), the effectiveness of the implementation strategy (i.e. training) and the receptiveness of the social system of health staff at all levels (i.e. social and organizational characteristics). We assessed the guideline innovation with the AGREE instrument for guidelines, the intended implementation strategy by critical comparison with literature on effective strategies, and the social system with both a stakeholder analysis and a descriptive analysis of the health care system at district level. This ex-ante assessment of an adaptive local implementation of international WHO guidelines showed that in July 2002 the 'implementability' of the package was challenged on the three components studied. To increase the chances of successful implementation, the national guideline development process should be improved and the implementation strategy needs to be upgraded. In order to successfully transfer global knowledge into local practice, we need to develop additional multifactorial sustained interventions that tackle other culture-specific and health system-specific barriers as well. The primary health workers are key informants for these barriers.